A campaign to restore a bridge linking Codnor Park and Jacksdale has received a £66,000 boost.
Derbyshire County Council will contribute £50,000 to ‘kick start’ the project, while Ashfield District Council Rural Area Committee, is allocating up to £16,000.
Codnor Park Action Group (CPAG) and the JACHs (Jacksdale Area Culture and Heritage) group started a petition calling for the “promised and much-needed link” across the Cromford Canal back in April 2012.
Andy Cadman, of CPAG, said: “The link will provide benefits for Codnor Park and Ironville in terms of accessing essential services such as chemist’s, doctor’s, dentist’s and other important services like the bus routes via Jacksdale.
“The bridge would be good for the environment as countless car journeys would be avoided. At the same time the residents from Jacksdale will again have access to the wonderful walks and open spaces of Codnor Park.”
A working party was set up in July 2013, consisting of councillors and officers from both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils and Wildlife Trusts, Friends of Cromford Canal and local residents.
Mr Cadman credits cllr Paul Smith for driving the project forward. He said: “Initially when we presented the petition to the then Conservative controlled County Council in the Autumn of 2012 it was rejected.
“However, cllr Paul Smith was the representative for the Codnor Park, Ironville district; he understood the needs of this community. He explained this need to the then party in power. They listened, agreeing to provide county council officer support for a working party to look into the project, with a view to constructing a bridge in the future.”
County council engineers have now visited the site with a view of giving initial thoughts on feasibility of bridge provision.
When initial scoping has been completed there will be public consultations later in the year for the communities on each side of the canal to discuss all aspects of the project and all the options that are available.
The ‘Bailey Style Bridge’, known locally as the “old iron bridge”, was built in 1943 by the Butterley Company and demolished in 1998.
Because the bridge was not a public right of way any project to replace it will be a new initiative rather than the reinstatement of an existing right of way.